The changing face of Kuchipudi
Hyderabad: Kuchipudi, Andhra Pradesh's oldest classical dance form, has seen many transformations. Its foot-tapping rhythm and expressions match India's foremost classical dance styles.
Keeping alive the tradition, most men in Kuchipudi village near Vijayawada — where the dance form originated — pursue this graceful dance. And such is its popularity that people from across the country travel to this academy to learn the art.
"Learning at Kuchipudi village gives me purity of form. I'm learning both old and new forms," says a student from Kerala, Vijay Kumar.
Blending the sensuality and fluidity of Odissi with the geometric dance steps of Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi retains its devotional character with an emphasis on dramatic expression. But many feel that glamorous costumes and make-up over take the art these days.
For decades, the learning and performance of Kuchipudi was confined to select families. But alongwith the need to preserve this ancient dance form, formal dance schools have flourished.
For Ravi Balakrishnan, it was a natural step to take up this graceful dance, considering that two generations of men in his family have been doing Kuchipudi.
"Youngsters should show interest in Kuchipudi, it reflects the rich culture of Andhra Pradesh, it should be promoted," says Balakrishnan, a student.
From glamorous costumes to modern day dance academies, Kuchipudi has survived many transformations.
Now, even women have danced their way into this male-dominated art. But its biggest draw continues to be a vibrant stage presentation with effective story-telling.
(With Tejaswi Rathore in in Hyderabad)